Just for Fun: Gather Round The Board As We Celebrate Some Amazing Board Games
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Agatha Christie play, The Mousetrap. An odd opening for a blog post about board games, admittedly! But it got us thinking about another Mousetrap – the board game – which celebrates it’s 59th anniversary this year. So, we decided to celebrate some of our favourite board games with some amazing facts. Plus, we take a look at the “rules” of using stick on name labels.
Celebrating Amazing Board Games With Some Amazing Facts
Recent statistics estimate that almost 90% of households own at least one board game. Lockdown saw a boost in sales and around 5,000 new games are released each year. So, here are our favourite facts to celebrate board games. Did you know:
- The oldest known board game is Senet. Boards have been found in Ancient Egyptian burials and frescos from c. 3100 BC.
- The oldest game playable by its original rules is The Royal Game of Ur (Ancient Mesopotamia, c. 3,000 BC). A set of rules found on a clay tablet from 177 BC was translated in the 1980s.
- The oldest known European board game is Petteia, which is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad (Ancient Greece, c. 8th century BC).
- Chess originated in Eastern India between 280-500 A.D. In 1997, a computer (Deep Blue) defeated Garry Kasparov, a grandmaster. An engineer later admitted one of Deep Blue’s best moves came from a programming bug they couldn’t fix.
- While standard chess uses 64 squares and 32 pieces, a Japanese game called Taikyoku Shogi (“ultimate chess”) uses 1296 squares and 804 pieces, including Strutting Crow, Drunk Elephant, Enchanted Badger, Playful Cockatoo, and Violent Wind.
- Elizabeth Magie invented Monopoly (The Landlord’s Game) in 1902. The characters are Jake the Jailbird and Officer Edgar Mallory. Over 6 billion house and 2 billion hotel pieces have been made. In 2015, real money was hidden in 80 of 30,000 80th anniversary sets.
- You can win Monopoly in under a minute! You need to build houses on Park Place and Mayfair AND hope your opponent draws an “Advance to Mayfair” chance card (a 1 in 254 trillion chance). The longest recorded game took 70 days (1,680 hours).
- During World War II, the British government was allowed to send board games to prisoners of war. They sent copies of Monopoly containing tools for escape including real bank notes, compasses, metal files, and silk maps.
- Scrabble was created in 1932 by Alfred Mosher Butts. There are enough Scrabble tiles to reach around the Earth eight times (although over a million are missing)! The highest scoring word you can play first is “muzjiks” (Russian peasant) and the highest scoring word possible is “oxyphenbutazone” (arthritis medication). Around 20 words in the English language are impossible, including “pizzazz” (because there aren’t four “Z” tiles). For the game’s 60th anniversary in 2008, two skydivers played a (short) game over Florida.
- Snakes and Ladders comes from an ancient Indian game called Moksha Patam, which represented the soul’s path through reincarnation. Good deeds lead to rebirth as higher life forms (ladders), while bad deeds lead to lower life forms (snakes). While the theme has been updated many times, the rules have remained the same for 2,000 years.
- Cluedo was created in 1943 by Anthony E Pratt during World War II air raids. It originally featured 10 characters (including Mr Brown, Mr Gold, Miss Grey, and Mrs Silver), 11 rooms (including gun room and cellar), and 9 weapons (axe, bomb, syringe, Irish walking stick, poker, rope, dagger, pistol, and poison). The first lead pipes were made from real lead, which put players at risk of lead poisoning.
- Jenga (“build” in Swahili) was invented in the 1980s. Over 50 million sets (or 2.7 billion blocks) have been sold since. Some blocks are slightly smaller making them easier to remove. In 2014, Caterpillar construction vehicles were used to move Jenga blocks measuring 8 feet long. The game lasted 28 hours and reached a 14th level before the stack collapsed.
- There are almost 2 trillion ways to win Connect Four (and over 700 million ways to draw). However, if the first player starts in the centre column (and makes the right moves), they will always be able be able to win.
- In Sierra Leone, new drivers play The Drivers’ Way before getting their license. It involves stoplight-themed dice and questions about the country’s road laws.
- Chinese Chequers (Sternhalma) is actually a German variation of an American game (Halma), which was introduced to the Chinese by the Japanese.
And, finally: Mouse Trap was turned down by several major companies before selling 1.2 million copies in its first year. In 2005, a full-sized working model was built. Instead of dropping a cage on a mouse, it dropped a 2 ton safe onto a car!
Playing By The Rules – Or How To Apply Stick On Name Labels
We supply Instructions For Use with all of our name labels. We’ve spent years working on these “rules”, which help our customers get the very best performance out of their name labels. So, please, give the rules a read before you starting a-play-ing your name labels!
- Ensure that your item is completely dry.
- Carefully peel a label from the backing paper, avoiding touching the adhesive too much.
- Apply the label firmly onto your item as follows:
- Clothing / Other Fabric Items: apply your labels onto the wash-care label (not directly onto the fabric or other labels).
- Shoes: apply your labels onto the side wall or beneath the tongue (not beneath the heel).
- Other Items: apply your labels anywhere you like!
- Use your thumb to smooth the label down firmly to ensure a full adhesive bond across the label.
- Do not wash items for at least 24 hours to allow the adhesive to set. After washing, do not be tempted to check the adhesion by picking at the label.
Other rules to consider:
- Never iron directly over your labels because they will melt!
- Wash new items of clothing / fabric items first. This removes traces of dust, excess dye, or chemical preservatives introduced during manufacture, storage, or distribution.
- Avoid washing labelled items at more than 40 degrees where possible.
- Follow the guidelines provided on your cleaning products to make sure you are using the correct amount.
- Avoid soaking labelled items in highly concentrated cleaning products (like bleaching products).
- Store unused labels in their original packaging away from sources of light and heat.